Category Archives: FOOD COOPS NYC

THE LOCAVORE’S HANDBOOK

POST #943
I think I bought The Locavore’s Handbook: the Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget,  by Leda Meredith, by accident – I was looking for books by Wildman Steve Brill, and books on foraging in New York City. Nevertheless, I am happy to have it – I inhaled it in one day!

Meredith is a New Yorker, and she mostly gives information as to how to organize one’s life to eat local as much as possible, in order to reduce one’s carbon footprint – that said, she does give hints as to where you might look if you are in another part of the country. (The basics will apply if you live in another country, as well, but you will just have to find your own way to the resources).

I’ll admit that, on differing levels, I knew most of this information (as I said, I bought this book by accident), but Meredith addresses a number of issues which are near and dear to my heart – I live in a tiny New York City apartment, and she suggests storage ideas that I might not have thought of.

Meredith is not a raw foodist, or even a vegetarian, but I think we are all grown up enough that we can read books and get what we need from them. She talks extensively about foraging, community gardening, CSAs, food coops, food preservation (another topic near and dear to my heart) and home organization issues. In my reading, I have gotten quite a few ideas about how I can reorganize my kitchen and apartment to include more storage space.

If you are interested in eating local or organic, and/or if you live in a tiny New York apartment,  and you want to organize a locavore/vegan/raw vegan kitchen, this is the book for you. It’s really good.

MY THANKSGIVING & BLACK FRIDAY

POST #865
On Wednesday night, I dehydrated some maitake mushrooms (I made them up in the marinade I usually use when I am going to use mushrooms as a meal inclusion – 1/4 C olive oil/1/4 C tamari – I won’t do that again – the mushrooms get smaller but the tamari doesn’t—maybe next time 1 T tamari) Still, they are not that bad, and people who like salt like them.

I didn’t feel like making Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. My room-mate is moving out after 12 years (no, not like that, and I am very happy that she has found a job at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after getting fired for being culturally incompatible with her boss), and I felt I needed to clean the kitchen (her job, which she hasn’t ever done). So, there I was on hands and knees, with my buddy Mr. Clean, scrubbing with a heavy duty sponge (a scrub brush wouldn’t do enough. Actually, I am feeling like I am in that Kafka story where the guy cannot clean enough – every time I turn around, there is grime!)

I’ll confess – I don’t like to work hard, and I can come up with a couple of thousand things to do that would be also useful.

SO…. I now have a jar of cranberry-orange relish fermenting, another jar of jalapeno sauerkraut, and a jar of mushrooms (wow! They really do shrink down! That jar was packed full yesterday!), and a jar of garlic/jalapeno squash working.
This morning, I got up to scrub the kitchen some more (you can’t imagine!). I was supposed to go to the Union Square Holiday Bazaar with a friend at 10, but she bowed out, so I stopped to juice some cranberries (woo! tres tart!) which I mixed with half again as much apple cider (still tart, but I liked it).

I went to Union Square, and looked around (most of the things I looked at would be good for my 25-year-old niece, but I have to get her take on colors and other stuff ; she is very different from the way I was at 25—yes, I do remember!). Then I went across the street and looked, for maybe 10 minutes, in DSW, but I couldn’t get past the rudeness of people who would stop in rafts across the wide aisles and not let me past, so I left, and took a cross-town bus to Sixth Ave. in Greenwich Village. There, I went into the LifeThyme organic store in search of Zukay salad dressings (Zukay’s answer to my inquiry as to where I could buy their salad dressing had assured me that LifeThyme carried them – WRONG!). No problem! Right next to LifeThyme is Bigelow’s Pharmacy, which carries an amazing assortment of essential oils, as well as homeopathic remedies.

Then I went to the Barnes & Noble which has always been there on the corner (but which, I learned today, is leaving the Village on 12/31/12), to see if they had anything I wanted to buy with the gift card I got for my birthday (no go! Maybe because they are going out of business? I’ll have to check out the Union Square location for raw recipe books—what if there are no more bookstores? How will we be able to look at books and decide if we want them?) I did find some interesting books for someone I know (can’t say here… she might be following my blog or something)

Anyway, I am headed for the kitchen again now. I am going to try using the pulp from the 3 C of cranberries, which I used to make the1/2 C of cranberry juice, to make some more cranberry/orange sauce (I expect I will need to add some more cranberries to fill the jar).

If the portobella mushrooms I have in the refrigerator are still viable, I am going to put those to ferment also.
If I have time, I will put up some carrots with ginger, garlic, and dill.

6/7/12 CSA SHARE: WHAT I ACTUALLY GOT & WHAT I AM GOING TO DO WITH IT

I love it when the CSA is in season. It is so nice to go there and see so many happy people picking up their shares. Sometimes they are even friendly.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to pick up my share (early shares are always slim pickings, and overloaded with lettuce-t kinds of things, but… hey! That’s the way it is — they really really want me to start liking salads.

Yesterday, we got:
Baby Arugula – 1 bag
Romaine Lettuce – 1 head
Boston Lettuce – 1 head
Swiss Chard – 1 bunch
Garlic Scapes – 1 bunch
Japanese Salad Turnips – 1 bunch
STRAWBERRIES!  We got strawberries in the box, and I also got strawberries as my fruit share! Yum! Smoothies!

ARUGULA – I decided to keep it. I’m not overly fond of arugula, but I decided to make a raw version of the Greek beet, arugula, and goat cheese salad (I’ll post it later
ROMAINE – I kept it. I think I’ll make some wraps.
BOSTON LETTUCE – I like this stuff well enough.   I can deal with a salad or two a week.  This is a fairly big head, so I might be having three salads. I like to mix in seaweed (I stalk the Japanese supermarkets for sales on the mixed, or else I just get wakame when it is in the bulk bins at Integral Yoga Foods, my favorite natural foods store) and sauerkraut, along with onion, and, if I have it, some red bell pepper.
SWISS CHARD – I am still not ready to even try to like this stuff.  It is high on my yuck scale. I traded it for more turnips.
GARLIC SCAPES– these look weird, but they are GREEN, and they taste like garlic, so I like them.  I chop them up or grind them in the food processor,  and put them in everything as a garlic (they are a part of one kind of garlic).  These will get chopped or ground and put in salad, or go into pates.  Since I was lucky and got two bunches, I will probably experiment with my next sauerkraut, and put some sliced garlic scapes in there with lots of sliced jalapeno.
JAPANESE SALAD TURNIPS – I have no clue why they call them Japanese Salad Turnips (my Japanese room-mate did not recognize them.  When I was testing a recipe with them, she said she had never seen them before).  So, okay, they are all white, where other turnips have some purple on them. Never mind. They are turnips and they taste like turnips. I grind them in the food processor to almost an applesauce consistency, then add apple cider vinegar, olive olive oil, and any seasonings which strike my fancy (usually garlic, sometimes coriander, sometimes Spike)
STRAWBERRIES – These are going in smoothies. I am not really into eating right now, but I know I need some protein, so I will put these into a hemp or soy protein shake in the morning. I am also thinking of making some strawberry leather in the dehydrator.

So! I have things to do with all these vegetables!  I got into a use- everything -in-the-box a few years ago, when the CSA issued a challenge.  I continued it when my job went south – the CSA box was my food for the week (I’d have maybe $5 more to get other food.  Good I have that experience because I am back there now. Smart people who have full-time work tell me about all the things I should do, like save money, or invest in a 401K, but, when you can barely pay the rent, and you have to think twice about what food to get, and you can’t afford your health insurance and medicine copays on top of all that, well, the CSA is very very important — at least I will not die from malnutrition. I feel so blessed that my CSA has jumped in this year and allowed me to make payments as I can.)

FLATBUSH FOOD CO-OP

Boy, things have really changed since the early, dark, dingy food coops I remember from the 1960s/70s.

Because I have had business in the area, I have been going out to a certain neighborhood in Brooklyn, around the Cortelyou train station.  The first time I went out there, I noticed the Flatbush Food Co-op, which is on my list of city food co-ops.  Of course, I had to go in there and check it out.  (I don’t believe that I have been in a food co-op since the early 1970s.)

What a pleasant surprise.  This co-op looks pretty much like any supermarket, except that the food is organic, and they have a large selection of the usual bulk items.  (They do have meat and dairy products, which are also organic.)   There isn’t that hectic atmosphere of Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or Fairway – it is more like mid-day shopping in a chain supermarrket in Middle America.  Even the prices for non-members were competitive.

The neighborhood is rather out of my way, but I am thinking hard about becoming a member of that co-op since it is so nice and friendly, and since there are currently no co-ops near where I live in Queens.  They have about the fairest membership fee of all the local coops, enabling even the very financially challenged to join up ($25 to register, then $25/year until the entire $200 membership fee has been paid)

FLATBUSH FOOD COOP (open to the public, member discount)
($25 registration + $25/yr until $200 investment paid)
1415 Cortelyou Road
(btw Rugby & Marlborough Roads)
Brooklyn
Tel: (718) 284-9717
train:  Q to Cortelyou/East 16th